Feb. 15, 2018
by Tony Jones
#RV Notre Dame at Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Feb. 16-18, 2018
JoAnne Graf Field
No. RV Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(3-2 in 2018)
No. 20/19 Michigan Wolverines
(3-2 in 2017)
No. 14 Minnesota Golden Gophers
(5-0 in 2018)
Notre Dame Big Ten/ACC Challenge Schedule
Friday, Feb. 16
No. RV Notre Dame vs. No. 20/19 Michigan – 4 p.m. (ET)
Saturday, Feb. 17
No. RV Notre Dame vs. No. 20/19 Michigan – 10 a.m. (ET)
No. RV Notre Dame vs. No. 14 Minnesota – 12:30 p.m. (ET)
Sunday, Feb. 18
No. RV Notre Dame vs. No. 14 Minnesota – 10 a.m. (ET)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the second straight season, the University of Notre Dame softball team embarks for play in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge with familiar foes on its weekend schedule. The Irish are set for a total of four games on the weekend, with two matchups each with No. 20/19 Michigan and No. 14 Minnesota, at JoAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee, Florida.
No. RV Notre Dame (3-2) previously took part in the 2017 version of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, which included a 6-4 win over No. 11/10 Michigan on Feb. 18 at NC State’s Dail Softball Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. The ACC won last year’s challenge with a 19-13 cumulative record.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
Irish Post Winning AZ Record
Notre Dame opened the 2018 season with a 3-2 record at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona, from Feb. 9-11. The Irish won three straight in the season’s first weekend before suffering consecutive defeats, including a walk-off setback against Fresno State to close the tournament.
A rally in the top of the sixth inning powered Notre Dame to its first win of 2018, a 4-3 triumph over Seattle on Feb. 9 at the Tempe Sports Complex. Cait Brooks drove a one-out, full-count pitch over the fence in left field for her first home run of the season, closing the gap to 3-2. With two outs, Katie Marino ripped a single into right to keep the rally alive. Marino reached third base on an Alexis Holloway automatic double that skipped over the fence in center to set the table for Alexis Bazos. Bazos racked up the first two RBI of her career, lacing a single through the right side that cleared the bases and vaulted Notre Dame ahead for the first time at 4-3.
Notre Dame has now been victorious in its first game of a season dating back to 2014 following the Friday triumph over Seattle.
Great Opening Act For Holloway
Freshman pitcher Alexis Holloway made an impactful debut for Notre Dame in her first career collegiate game, taking the ball for the Irish against Seattle on Feb. 9 and going the distance in the win.
Holloway, the 2017 Indiana Gatorade High School Player of the Year, spun a complete game against the Redhawks, scattering six hits over seven innings. She walked only two batters and notched 12 strikeouts to help hold Seattle at bay in a 4-3 Notre Dame win.
Holloway’s 12 strikeouts were the most for a Notre Dame freshman since Laura Winter fanned 12 Purdue batters on March 31, 2011. Holloway’s 12 punch-outs are also believed to be the most by any Notre Dame freshman pitcher in a debut dating back to at least 1998.
Marino Mashes For ND In Week 1
Sophomore second baseman Katie Marino lit an offensive spark for Notre Dame during the five-game Kajikawa Classic, batting a team-high .462 with three home runs, eight RBI, a 1.308 slugging percentage, a .563 on-base percentage and five runs scored.
Marino drove in three runs in each victory over Saint Mary’s (Feb. 9) and South Dakota (Feb. 10), ripping a home run in both games. She would later add a two-run home run in the final game of the tournament for Notre Dame against Fresno State (Feb. 11).
Marino’s power numbers from the 2018 opening weekend rocketed ahead of her pace from her freshman campaign. Marino hit four home runs in 50 games (46 starts) and 129 at-bats in 2017, adding 21 total RBI over the course of her rookie season.
Brooks Opens Irish `18 HR Account
For the second time in three seasons, Cait Brooks was the first Notre Dame hitter to leave the yard during the regular season.
Facing a 3-2 count with one out in the sixth inning against Seattle on Feb. 9, Brooks deposited a solo home run over the wall in left center to bring Notre Dame within one run at 3-2. The Irish ultimately added two more runs in the sixth to vault past Seattle by a 4-3 final score.
Brooks is no stranger to being the first Notre Dame slugger of the season to leave the yard. The solo jack against Seattle marked the second time in Brooks’ career that she was responsible for the first Irish home run of a season, along with a three-run blast in the seventh inning of her Irish debut against No. 18 Kentucky on Feb. 12, 2016.
Bonamy Has a Knack For Doubles
Junior infielder MK Bonamy ripped a total of three doubles during the opening weekend of play at the Kajikawa Classic, something that has been a common feature of Bonamy’s game in the Notre Dame lineup throughout her career.
Bonamy’s first two hits of the season were doubles to both right field and center field against Seattle on Feb. 9. She then roped an additional two-bagger to the wall in center later in the day against Saint Mary’s.
Of her 14 career hits entering this weekend’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Bonamy has accounted for seven doubles. She ripped three doubles in limited action last season before missing the remainder of the season with an injury, and notched her first career hit as a freshman with a double to center field in 2016.
Beriont Throwing The Ks
During her first start of the 2018 season, senior pitcher Katie Beriont was dealing for the Irish in the circle against Saint Mary’s.
The Notre Dame southpaw scattered five hits over seven innings with four walks, and made her mark with a career-high 10 strikeouts. Nine of the 10 Ks were of the swinging variety for Beriont, who has punched out 16 batters to only five walks over her first 13.1 innings this season.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball, men’s soccer and swimming and diving programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.